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How to Wear a Babydoll Dress Without Looking Frumpy

Updated on April 18, 2017
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I am a journalist who has been writing regularly for HubPages since 2007 on varied topics, such as plus-size fashion and traveling.

The babydoll dress is once again in the fashion spotlight for spring and summer. To look stunning while wearing this style, make sure you choose the right length, match it with high heels, and get proper support from your undergarments.

Me wearing a babydoll style dress.
Me wearing a babydoll style dress. | Source

What Is a Babydoll Dress?

If you have been living on another planet and have failed to see Hollywood icons, like Sandra Bullock, wearing this type of dress, then it is not too late to catch up with this fashion. The style is, as you can imagine, highly inspired by the babydoll nightgown. It is feminine and flirty, and ideal for those days when you are feeling a bit bloated. It usually skims gracefully over curves and accentuates your best assets, such as beautiful breasts or a great pair of legs.

To add glamour, wear high heels and a matching statement handbag.
To add glamour, wear high heels and a matching statement handbag. | Source

How to Wear a Babydoll Dress

The thing about a this type of dress is that it can make you look incredibly sexy or horrendously ridiculous. If you have an ample bosom and a relatively flat stomach, then this look can make you look both sweet and sexy. However, if you have heavy thighs, opt for a longer version.

Get Proper Support From Your Undergarments

This tip goes for every item of clothing. Proper undergarments that hold everything in place can make a big difference to your overall look. If you want to wear a babydoll dress with a deep plunging neckline, choose a push-up bra to enhance your assets. Highlighting your assets will drive attention away from problem areas and will give you the appearance of an hourglass figure. Some of the Victoria's Secret babydoll dresses come with built-in brassieres.

Choose the Proper Length

Just a few inches above the knee is best. If you are petite, you can wear it a bit shorter, but not too short. Bear in mind that babydoll dresses are flowy, and they will "show off" on a windy day. This brings me to the next rule: never wear one during a windy day or for doing vigorous dancing like ceilidh or salsa, unless, of course, you want to show your "jewels" on every turn!

High Heels

Try to pair your dress with wedges — they are not too flashy but give you good height. If you are wearing it to the beach, choose flip flops with a little heel or wedge for a bit of glamour.

Printed Patterns Look Better on Tall Girls

If you are petite, colour-only dresses will look nicer on you. If you have a small bust, you can give the impression of enhanced breasts by choosing a style in which the bust colour is different from the rest of the dress.

To Avoid the "Pregnant" Look

To avoid looking "pregnant" or bloated, wear appropriate makeup and avoid going out with a "morning sickness" look. Wear high heels and walk tall! Look at Rihanna in the picture below. She is wearing a babydoll with high heels and proper makeup, and she just looks stunning!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Empire waist babydoll plaid dress worn with over-the-knee suede boots.  Rihanna
Empire waist babydoll plaid dress worn with over-the-knee suede boots.
Empire waist babydoll plaid dress worn with over-the-knee suede boots. | Source
Rihanna
Rihanna

How to Wear a Babydoll Dress If You Are 40+

  • If you are over 40, I would recommend wearing darker shades and heavier fabrics.
  • Another tip for the over 40 group age is to wear long leggings. Leggings provide a more sophisticated look.

On the left, Sienna Miller wearing the Balenciaga babydoll dress. On the right, Katie Holmes wearing the same dress seven months later!
On the left, Sienna Miller wearing the Balenciaga babydoll dress. On the right, Katie Holmes wearing the same dress seven months later! | Source

Origins of the Babydoll Dress

In 1956, the movie Baby Doll, starring Carroll Baker, gave origin to the popularity of the babydoll nightgown — the costume worn by Baker's childlike and sensual character in the film. Although the film was heavily censored and banned in some countries, the babydoll style gained force, and more than 50 years later, it is still fashionable.

With the years, the babydoll has made a jump from the bedroom to the high street, where women of all shapes enjoy the freedom of wearing this seductive, but playful style.

Everybody says that babydoll dresses make you look pregnant, so they are the perfect thing to wear when you actually are pregnant.
Everybody says that babydoll dresses make you look pregnant, so they are the perfect thing to wear when you actually are pregnant.

Why Should You Wear This Style?

The babydoll dress keeps coming back in style over the years because it is very "forgiving." With an empire-waisted dress, you don't need to be extremely thin to look good and sexy. It allows you to show off a nice bust and great legs and hides a not-so-toned tummy and the hips area.

How to Choose the Perfect Dress

If you want one that will last for a long time, regardless of fashion trends, go for a long-wearing fabric, like wool or silk. An A-line shape or a trapeze style is flattering on most women. Avoid the extremely voluminous styles, as these can make most women look pregnant.

The babydoll dress is perfect for everyday wear and by adding some accessories, you can change it from a daytime look to a nighttime outfit that's perfecting for going out for drinks after work.

 Jessica Alba wearing an Isabel Marant denim dress paired with chunkier boots.
Jessica Alba wearing an Isabel Marant denim dress paired with chunkier boots. | Source

Horrors to Avoid

  • Don't wear it too short. It is true that a short dress will make your legs look longer, but wearing it too short will only make you look "tarty."
  • Shorter styles are only suitable for young girls. If you are over 30, a hemline just a few inches above the knee is more flattering.
  • Avoid lace trim. A babydoll dress with a lace trim looks too much like a nightgown!
  • Keep accessories to a minimum.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Avoid wear it too short like Pamela Anderson. You don't want your underwear to show. This style is too sweet and unflattering and clashes with her glitzy sandals.
Avoid wear it too short like Pamela Anderson. You don't want your underwear to show.
Avoid wear it too short like Pamela Anderson. You don't want your underwear to show.
This style is too sweet and unflattering and clashes with her glitzy sandals.
This style is too sweet and unflattering and clashes with her glitzy sandals.

© 2008 Wendy Iturrizaga

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    • profile image

      Christian Louboutin Heels 5 years ago

      I read with great interest.Thanks for you sharing.

    • profile image

      chocomousse 6 years ago

      Very simple and airy babydoll dresses. You can feel good for any occasion in Ladies tunics like this

    • profile image

      fabgirl21 6 years ago

      Thanks for the hub! I love Petra Nemcova's dress! I would definitely like to own one like that. My sister just bought a beautiful blue babydoll dress from Jovani and she looked pretty good in it. I think I might have to steal it from her :x

    • profile image

      dresses 6 years ago

      I love baby doll dresses, they look so cute and casual. Great for the summer.

    • mysisters profile image

      mysisters 6 years ago

      Great Hub. These are some nice selections on baby doll dresses. They come in so many different colors and styles and you can dress them up or down.

    • profile image

      china wholesalers 6 years ago

      This is a great post and makes me think of where I can fit in. I do a little bit of everything mentioned here and I guess I have to find my competitive advantage.

    • profile image

      Rachel 7 years ago

      I just found out I'm pregnant (for the first time) and wondering if a cute baby doll and high heeled sandals would look good if done right.

    • profile image

      Babydoll 7 years ago

      I admire what you have done here. Well, this is my first visit to your blog! Looks great! Keep up the good work!

    • profile image

      Babydoll 7 years ago

      I've been reading a few posts and actually I enjoy yours.

      This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks a lot for the tips!

    • Princessa profile image
      Author

      Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

      gwennies pen: The great thing about a babydoll dress is that if you look carefully enough you will find a cut to suit every shape and age.

      Kimberly: Babydoll dresses are a staple in my wardrobe, they are great when I don't know what to wear or when I am filling a bit "bloated" they hide all imperfections and enhance my loved areas :)

    • profile image

      kimberlyslyrics 7 years ago

      Hands Down my favorite style of dress. I live in Canada and don't find this style often so mail order I use and Victoria Secrets has adorable ones

      just loved this hub, need to go

      must buy new dress

      lol

      Kimberly, Thanks

    • profile image

      gwennies pen 7 years ago

      I use to wear baby doll nighties. This style in a dress is flattering. I appreciate you sharing this hub, even though I am petite and older. Thanks for the tips where to find them. I guess I like the feminine look as I am a bit old-fashioned. It is interesting to see how fashion makes its full circle, isn't it? :)

    • Princessa profile image
      Author

      Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

      Glad you liked it!

    • Van Woods profile image

      Van Woods 7 years ago from California, CA

      Greta Hub and An Amazing Collection.....

      Thanks very much!

      Van Woods, California CA

    • hunter1riley profile image

      Hunter Riley 7 years ago from Nashville

      Nice hub. A baby doll dress has always been a favorite of mine. It's such a fun summertime item of clothing. Always light and very comfortable. Dress it up with sexy high heels like these: http://highheels.onsugar.com/ or stay with traditional flats or even flip flops. Such a versatile dress.

    • bruce520 profile image

      bruce520 7 years ago

      Great hub!

      I like to share this babydoll dresses link also.

      http://www.2sshoes.com/product.asp?page=2&cate...

      Really chic dresses!

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 7 years ago from Georgia

      awesome hub...love the gorgeous pics!

    • Princessa profile image
      Author

      Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

      iwhcpanties: maybe after reading this she will try on a couple next time she goes shopping... It is all about finding the right cut to enhance one's figure.

    • profile image

      iwhcpanties 7 years ago

      This is nice, I love the dress’s and wish my wife would wear them, or what we call sun dress’s anyway.

    • Princessa profile image
      Author

      Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

      scenechika1234: yes, too short is never a good idea at any age.

    • scenechika1234 profile image

      scenechika1234 7 years ago

      i think she made a good point about too short baby doll dresses because you don't want to buy a dress that is too short for you. i might only be 15 but i know what im talking about because a girl started that "too short" baby doll dress trend and got a lot of girls in trouble. i don't wear a lot of dresses but i would wear that dress! i think that they are absoluteley beautiful no matter what your body shape (type) is.

    • Princessa profile image
      Author

      Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

      I am glad you all like the babydoll dresses. They are so flatering that one looks great every single time wearing one of those!

    • profile image

      Leanne 7 years ago

      I love the dress Nicki Hilton is wearing :)

      very cute, and very flattering!

    • profile image

      Designer store 7 years ago

      Interesting Post!

    • profile image

      orientantique 7 years ago

      The above is beautiful girls with attractive fashion.

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile image

      Staci-Barbo7 7 years ago from North Carolina

      I love the baby doll top, as does my daughter. To create an adorable yet modest look, we pair the tops with leggings.

    • Priyanka Swamy profile image

      Priyanka Swamy 8 years ago from Concord, CA

      Babydoll dresses are great for spring and summer. They can be casual or dressy. Great tips on finding the best babydoll dresses for your body and some really cute dresses.

    • profile image

      cheap wedding dress 8 years ago

      I love babydoll dress, I prepare to buy 2-3 pieces for the coming summer. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      cheap wedding dress 8 years ago

      Nice hub! I like babydoll dress, and wanna buy some for myself this summer. Thanks for sharing. Those pics looks attractive and sweet.

    • profile image

      singapore fashion 8 years ago

      very nice dresses and great hub. keep it.

    • Princessa profile image
      Author

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      Coast Dresses and JennifersJumpers: you are welcome. The great thing about a babydoll dress is that there is one for every style and age: long, short, colourful, monochromatic, summery, vintage, dressy... and the list goes on!

    • JennifersJumpers profile image

      JennifersJumpers 8 years ago

      Thanks for showing different styles of the babydoll dress. Everyone doesn't want cleaving showing! I really liked the vintage dress.

    • profile image

      Coast Dresses 8 years ago

      I totally agree that there is a babydoll style for any age. My mum thought she couldn't wear one but I went shopping with her and we found a lovely shrug to go with her dress and she didn't look like "mutton dressed as lamb" like she thought she would lol

    • profile image

      sherlynavia 8 years ago from United States

      Great hub! Paris Hilton babydoll dress is great. I love babydoll dresses. Thanks for sharing.

    • sun goddess profile image

      sun goddess 8 years ago from davao city, philippines

      seen one in marks and spencer recently in my sojourn in Sinagore and the one that victoria beckham wore in the net... didn't know it would make such a come back since... i dunno... the 80's or the 90's.... looks absolutely cute but i don't think i could wear one here... :) it's summer here 365 days in a year...

    • profile image

      ideaman21 8 years ago from Chicago, IL

      I want to thank you for making me aware of the 1956 film. I had never heard of it and I love classic film. Its amazing where you can find a gem in this world when you are looking for something else.

    • Princessa profile image
      Author

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      sun goddess: Dresses are so cute and feminine. I also like the short babydoll style in long sleeves for winter, worn with boots looks very casual and chic.

      BTW have you seen the new leather dresses? they are absolutely gorgeous...

    • sun goddess profile image

      sun goddess 8 years ago from davao city, philippines

      great hub!!!! i absolutely loooooooooooooove baby doll dresses.... no, i loooooooooooove dresses..... :) it's cute, fun and flirty.... embelished sandals seem to work for me though when i'm wearing baby doll dresses.. :) but you're right about the wedges and heels part... they look absolutely divine.... thanks for the tips!

    • Princessa profile image
      Author

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      Om Paramapoonya: You are right, stick to short dresses to make your legs look longer. I do like long dresses, which seem to be all the rage in Paris just now, but as I am not very tall, they are not flattering for me neither.

      Paranoid86: The dresses are cute or sexy depending on how you wear them. that is one of the reasons why I like them.

    • profile image

      paranoid86 8 years ago

      nice hub, very up to date in fashion world.

      the dress were really cute.

      http://hubpages.com/author/paranoid86/latest/?rss

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 8 years ago

      Nice hub! I actually have a lot of baby doll dresses myself. The reason I like them is that I'm short and long dresses just don't look good on me. So I guess I'm going to stick with this trend for a while. :-)

    • Princessa profile image
      Author

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment :)

      2patricias: I think that there is a baby doll dress for every age, you just need to find the most appropiate one for your shape and age, and of course, you should wear the rigth accessories with it to avoid looking out of place :)

    • Isabella Snow profile image

      Isabella Snow 8 years ago

      Yes! I love this, I'm going to see if I can find one for me!

    • desert blondie profile image

      desert blondie 8 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      Fun hub...this is a look I was surprised to see make such a strong comeback...but it's certainly a comfortable style that hides a lot of tummy flaws that USA women suffer from right now.

    • Sapristi! profile image

      Sapristi! 8 years ago

      More girls should re-conceptualize the babydoll look. And also read your article. I see all these stick-thin girls looking 5 months pregnant in these dresses! ...maybe I'm just jealous 'cause I can't pull it off ;)

    • ausmark627 profile image

      ausmark627 8 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Great stuff! I love baby doll dresses, but used to have difficulty pulling it off. Thanks for the new info!

    • profile image

      Auction Dresses 8 years ago

      Good info. Love your hub. The black and white babydoll dress looks so light and summery.

    • topstuff profile image

      topstuff 8 years ago

      Oh i know too much about baby doll dress,i think yes its not very late.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Good hub. This is a look for the young! After a certain age baby dolls are not flattering.

    • Annie Couture profile image

      Annie Couture 8 years ago from Colorado

      great hub, great look!

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